|Looking at a training log stored on the watch|
I normally HATE running with a watch on. For starters, I'm a nervous person already and I found that when I wear a watch I can't help but stare at it ALL THE TIME which greatly affects my training. For example, if I wear a watch and find out that I'm running super fast, I get mentally destroyed because I know I'm going to 'hit the wall' at some point. Or, if I wear a watch and find out that I'm running too slow, I get mentally depressed which causes me to run even slower. I've tried running/racing with a standard watch only a handful of times before and found that I prefer just running based on how my body feels. However, this wasn't going to cut it for the amount of focused training needed for an Ironman. So, I gave in and went and got one of the most expensive watches on the market.
Garmin Forerunner 310XT (pictured above)
My Initial Reaction:
I immediately feared that this watch was just too bulky (especially for a person who doesn't normally wear a watch). The first time that I went running with it, I hated it.
When I came home, I threw it down on the kitchen table and began to pack the box back up. "I'm returning this thing tomorrow!" I screamed at my boyfriend. "Just try it one more time" he begged me. So I did. And the next time I tried it, I fell in love. Honestly, it just takes a while to get used to the size.
NOTE: I run with the watch strapped to the inside or my wrist in order to keep my weight centered. I move the watch to the outside when I bike in order to avoid having it interfere with my aerobars.
My Opinion Now:
I've now been training with the 310XT for a few months. It's GPS and pace clock is incredibly accurate and the watch syncs to my computer and free Garmin Connect account with complete ease.
As to the bulkiness of the watch, it took a little while for me to get used to running with something so large on my wrist. But, now that I've gotten used to it, I hardly know it's even there.
However, swim training in a pool is a totally different story (although, I'm admittedly VERY PICKY about what I wear when I swim). I tried training in the pool with it a handful of times and find that (1) it messes up my streamline position off the wall because I can't get my hands tight together, (2) Sometimes the watch scrapes the lane line and the buttons get hit which messes up the clock, and (3) my arm gets tired by the end of a workout from the extra weight on my arm.
Should You Buy the New Version (Garmin Forerunner 910XT) Instead?
Possibly. But it really depends on how much money you want to spend and what exactly you need the watch for. It seems to me that only two things have been improved in the new version. Garmin claims that the new version is more accurate in open water swimming and can count your stokes in order to measure stroke efficiency. Also, the watch is slightly lighter and doesn't have as bulky of a watch face.
With a price difference of about $100, the newer version might just not be worth it. Yes it's not as bulky. But, it's not "tiny" either. And for such a large price difference, is slightly smaller worth it? Probably not.
Also, as to the improved swimming functions, they are functions that can easily be kept track of manually. Let me tell you how to keep track of your own stoke efficiency...In a pool, count the amount of strokes you take from one wall to the other. Then, while you're swimming to decrease that number. And, that's it! You just saved yourself $100!
Now, if Garmin develops a watch with the capabilities of the Pool Mate (counts laps, time, speed, and distance)...then I'd say the price difference it well worth it.
NOTE: Since I haven't tried the new version myself, I'd love to hear your opinions on the watch.
How is the Garmin Connect Application?
I think the Garmin Connect training log application is excellent and just as good, if not better, than other similar training log sites. My only complaint is that when I manually enter the yardage of a swim workout, the program automatically changes the distance to "Miles" on my training log. I have to go back into the entry later in order to change it back which gets VERY annoying after a while. Garmin, you definitely need to change this automatic conversion feature.
The Price Tag:
Presently $250 (without HR monitor) and $300 (with HR monitor) on the Garmin Website